"Come yourself or send no one." This quote comes from W. Edwards Deming. Deming was a management consultant who was sending a message to an executive. Essentially, he was trying to convey that some things need to be experienced and cannot simply be delegated. Some leaders may cringe at the thought of attending a course, especially if they're expected to participate when discussing a topic they have little knowledge of. But Agile training doesn't have to be in the form of a course. Conferences are a great way for leaders to enhance their Agile learnings. In fact, conferences may provide a better venue for them to network with other leaders. The most common excuse for leaders not to attend any type of Agile learning opportunity is that they don't have time. The problem with that stance is that it holds little water. In fact, most leaders over-value their time. They feel that 2 days of their time is better spent elsewhere. The reality is that year-long or multi-year initiatives cost organizations anywhere from millions of dollars to hundreds of millions and sometimes in excess of billions. There isn't a single CEO on the planet making that kind of money over a 2-day period. So an opportunity to incorporate Agile training is well worth their time. Let's explore what happens when leaders don't participate in Agile training: 1) They're unable to lead by example. The result is that others don't practice Agile behaviours. 2) Those that have bought in, get discouraged and may develop a "they're never gonna get it" mentality. The risk of losing these people increases as morale decreases. 3) The frequency of product delivery remains about the same. If your leaders are unwilling to attend Agile training, you may be able to convince them to take part of an Agile team (as a baby step). Maybe they form their own team with other leaders, or maybe they observe other Agile teams. Over time, they may be more open to the idea of attending these learning opportunities.
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